Feminism Types and Definitions: Waves, Socialist, Culture, Standpint & Radical

Feminism

Throughout 19th century feminism raised as a movement of equalizing social, political, economic and domestic rights of women. This also included the scope of more opportunities for them in education and in office. Women were not allowed to take part in any sort of political activity or an activity which involved exposure of women and rise of their position. This movement was started through pen in west.

“Feminism should persist in seeing itself as a component or offshoot of enlightenment modernism, rather than as one more ‘exciting’ feature in a postmodern social landscape (Lovibond, 1993 Postmodernism: A reader cited in Aslam, 2012).”

Ahead of 1850s, the upcoming years were a glory for women who supported feminism as the movement got enhancement during this period. The alarming increase in the number of women craving for financial income was damn to high. It drew attention of international media towards the white women of Europe’s upper and middle class. The number single women in this aspect was greater than the women who were married. They were very few alternatives available for them to get married and have children. Feminism developed throughout 19th and 20th century gradually. Some experts called this gradual uplifting of feminism as “Waves of Feminism” and describe it three steps.

First Wave of Feminism

As mentioned above feminism strengthened its footing gradually throughout the 19th century by starting from the first phase. We can call ‘the first wave’ of feminism in early 19th century with the first serious step taken to achieve equality for feminine soul in some spheres of life. For example, social and legal representation of women along men through media were encouraged. It was not until the 1850s that the feminist movement got the grassroots growth officially and emerged worldwide due to its participant’s firm footing and steadfastness (Aslam, 2012:4).

Marry Wollstonecraft took a major part in progressing the development of feminism in England by expressing the structure of feminine communities of middle and upper class of England. The official body was formed under the leadership that came from the head quarter in Langham Palace in United Kingdom. Barbara Bodichon (1827-91) and Rayner Parkes (1829-1925) raised voice for middle class feminine bodies by meeting to talk about an issue and later forming an organization under which the first women’s journal published the ‘Great Britain’.

Main Agenda of First Wave of Feminism

The main cause of feminism was not to support the working women, nor the married women, but the unmarried ones in the middle of whole Victorian society. They were mainly concerned with the carrier, education and the find way of an alternative life for those who tend marrying not. They were actually concerned with the security to give psychological confidence to women that they can live with a masculine power too. Some of the modern feminine souls of those days considered themselves doing a social work instead of leading a movement and didn’t considered themselves as feminists, even the term was not yet introduced and later became to public awareness in 1895. The members of first wave feminism couldn’t address and express properly the problems faced by overall feminine bodies but they actually could express what they had experiences in their own personal lives.

Later they also became in favor of the married women and started working to secure their rights too. Their major successes included the introduction of college education for chaps. The education system at secondary level for women was also changed a lot by the influence of feminist movements. The privilege of residence for married women also remained a major objective of this movement for a long time. Opportunities were increased for educated women for participating in nationwide examinations and even worldwide carriers.

Major milestone was achieved as soon as the “Women’s Property Act of 1870” was introduced. The dedication brought some colors to the lives when the court started taking positive steps towards the rights of diverse women and the increasing facilities for care of their children but the movement really remained unsuccessful regarding the aspect of giving vote power to women which was later resolved after the first world war.

Second Wave of Feminism

The ‘First World War’ indicated towards the demolishment of the first wave and feminism was relighted by the struggle of Marsha Lier who renewed the movement and invented the term “The Second Wave Feminism”. All the struggles and achievements remained in Europe and here came USA with a totally different atmosphere and nothing achieved. Gender discrimination was at its peak, women were not allowed to take part in social activities and they had to gain a lot as the European women did. They were generally ignored as the priority taking issue of “Civil War” emerged and prevailed. Women started taking actions against the war and the discrimination and joined their hands together in form of groups to increase their importance and raised their slogans to get attention after being frustrated by consistent ignorance and gender discrimination at the second class level. Students also greatly got involved as feminine souls were not given such importance regarding education as the masculine were awarded.

Third Wave/Post-feminism

The failure of better organized second wave feminism movement insisted the linguists and other related individuals of all fields, especially feminists, to wage another movement to conclude the movement for feminine souls. It was called the third-wave of even the post-feminism which indicated the pure aim of concluding the issue. It distinguished itself from the second wave feminist movement by the aspects of every phase of feminine life which aimed at sexuality mainly. Female empowerment was developed sexually and female heterosexuality was boosted by the objectives of third wave feminism. The division of women into lower/upper/middle class and colors was harshly condemned by the feminists who followed the third wave feminism. Aslam (2012) described this part in a unique way as:

“Third-wave feminism is a phrase determined with several different variations of feminist action and research, whose real limitations in the historiography of feminism are a topic of controversy, but are often noticeable as starting in the Early and recurring to the existing” (Aslam, 2012:6).

Achivements of Third Wave of Feminism

The period between 1960s and 1990s victimized the effects of post second feminism and pre-third wave feminism which made it historic at its part with the development of the though and understanding that women are of “many colors, civilizations, cultures, regions, verities, and beliefs along with their social backgrounds” (Aslam, 2012). The third-wave encompasses a vast area as it deals with latest trends in feminine world keeping in view essentialism, femininity, heterosexuality, structuralism, gender differentiation, leadership and gender interpretation.

Another additional aspects of third-wave is it being called post-feminism. Since the 1980s there have been different things which need separation in clarification while discussion of feminism. The range of viewpoint differed and this part needed an exclusive name which was fulfilled by using the term post-feminism in termed along with post-modernism. The post-feminists remained in the circle of feminism but still criticized the third wave feminists as they thought that the feminine soul has achieved everything it needed to complete its body during the second wave feminism. Some linguists and literary personalities also went upon the idea that this thinking discrimination is main difference which caused the emergence of the term post-feminism. Even though the modern writers and researchers are aware of the conscience difference which is blamed of being a backlash of feminist movement.

Standpoint Feminism

The participants of second wane feminism faded away until 1980s and a few were left insisted upon the beginning of third-wave feminism and argued that feminist movement should include the major global issues faced by feminine body instead of just focusing  over the upper middle class of Europe. The issues they asked about to be viewed included rape, incest, prostitution and homosexuality and some cultural specifications such as the major gender discrimination at woman’s part in Africa and Middle East. This slogan was raised in order to understand the relation of racism, colonization, homosexuality and classifications with the gender inequality and distributions prevailed across the globe. The oppression towards women and the effects of dominance of masculine soul in patriarchal society also caused this idea to develop as for as possible in whole world.

Feminist Literary Criticism/Theory

Discussing the “feminist theory” more broadly we enter the phase of “feminist literary criticism” in the Victorian age the women of England’s upper and upper middle class were treated very badly as they were not allowed exposed themselves and get some attention by expressing their abilities. So it was obvious that every single action by a feminine soul was condemned harshly and the good abilities and talents always remained hidden from the world. This discrimination prevailed a state of hue and psychological complex amongst women. The aspect created a great problem and soon it became a social issue to promote the thinking of women and make the feminine community arise. Some men also joined their hands and starting preaching about the heavenly places where men and women were treated equally regardless of any gender discrimination and racial difference.

“The belief in the fact that there is a plural vision of this world which gives more importance to women and consider them equally significant as men, unaware of their class, is well explained in and advocated in feminist theory” (Richards: 1992 cited in Bibi, 2013:18).

Lois Tyson suggested of this being the major reason of women’s work on literature not considered equally important and wise as men’s. Another linguist Lisa Tuttle described the “feminist literary criticism” as “the way of asking new questions of old texts” (Bibi, 2013: 19).

Radical Feminism

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English: photo by Denis Gray (denisgray@hotmail.com) Kathleen Hanna with Bikini Kill – 17 January, 1996 – Annandale Hotel, Sydney Australia Terms of Use: All users of this image are required to attribute this work to “Denis Gray” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The class of feminism which deals with the discrimination, opposition and oppression towards women by the patriarchal dominance of societies, covered under this topic by the name “radical feminism”. The superiority of men in many aspects of life kept women away from being in power. The “radical feminism” discusses this phase in detail and keeps a check on the solutions of this problem in literary circles (Bibi, 2013:19).

The students and researchers of “radical feminism” faced deep seated criticism against their views for taking the side of feminine soul which raises different issues over the time in all the classes regarding sexual harassment, homosexuality, discrimination, racial difference and class-based discrimination and lesbian production due unwilling to work with men as for their discrimination.

Literary study regarding women’s misery

Literary study regarding women’s misery

“A literature of their own” by Elaine Showalter exactly illustrates how the literature before the Victorian age differs from the modern age and the research also sketches the whole picture of the role of women in this aspect. Whole the research is laid down by her in three simple and seemingly broken down way, as she explains the very first way as by the name “Feminine”, which extends to the time interval 1840 to 1880, as it ends with the sad demise of one of the key feminine souls of the feminine body, George Eliot. The second one being the “Feminist”, which extends from 1880 to 1920, and it goes like beginning from Eliot’s death and ending at the successful achievement of women in the vote movement they started. And it came to an end in the 1960’s with the new level of confidence in female soul which started prevailing in 1920 and with the fierce name of the “Females” by Showalter. (Showalter, 1977, p.17)

She takes a care of the other subcultures while studying these, her self created, levels of women’s sufferings and struggle. She also discusses the aspect of the Dark (Black people) and the oppressed feminine souls in patronizing cultures. The reason behind the astonishing solidarity in the character of a woman even being a hell emotional and a lot self obsessed is “a distributed and much discreet and ritualized actual physical meet… the female sex-related life-cycle” (Showalter, 1977). Feminist writers have always written keeping in view this common aspect, and they have influenced a lot on the minds of readers of all time by their themes. This makes women a whole body which share same issues and have same problem which make them unite, and off course, when a unity comes in formation, it makes its functions, aims, objections and perhaps, some oppositions. In this case the main opposition which is formed automatically and without any conscious effort is the patriarchal leadership and patronizing system of governing a society.

Literature never forms without getting an influence from the reality of life. It first develops in the streets of the nation and slowly comes to the official level entering into the mini screen of the culture. Then it develops in the literature slowly when the literary figures of the nation starts using it in an informal way of expressing their character’s feelings in an effective way. The process of replica of the syntax is followed by this process immediately. This is called the “internalization of replica’s requirements of art and its opinions on community tasks” in literary perspective (Showalter, 1977). The Role of female soul in this literary evolution is mandatory and major as feminine soul is known for its self-obsession, firm grasp and the ability, or in some cases disadvantageous property of getting easily influenced. Some of the feminist roles responsible for this big revolution are Bronte’s, Elizabeth Gaskell, Elizabeth Browning, MartineauEliot, and  Nightingale. The later batch of the same school consists of Charlotte Yonge, Dinah Crack, Margret Oliphant, and Elizabeth Lynn Linton.

With the development of literary Feminism the activists of the nations gained a boost and started their activities on a larger scale. They also expressed their desire of living a leading life of men and starting the protest of getting their rights silently. They named it “Protest while Obedience” according to Showalter. The fact that during the Victorian age the women of the novel writing industry did a lot to secure their place in the community and form a parallel community which functions as the masculine souls, and they were also, to an extent, successful in their aim, as the Victorian age in literary perspective is commonly known for the works of feminine feminists, but still, this could not change the fact of women being disabled of writing metaphorically sensible novels and creating other such pieces of literature (Showalter, 1977). According to some critics, this was their way of getting freedom from the bitter fact of them being the property of the patriarchal authority of the Victorian supremacy, but according to the point of view of the researcher, this statement becomes a lot oppressive and racist as the women are directly hit in this critique.

The next topic which comes on the board of discussion is Showalter’s second division or level 2 of the issue, namely “Feminine Opposition”. Eyelash out against the conventional requirements and principles, strenuous their privileges and sovereignty be acknowledged. In this Feminist level, feminist literature had different perspectives of assault. Some women had written community commentaries, converting their own sufferings to those of the inadequate, the working class, slaves, and hookers, thereby air flow their feeling of disfavor in a right style. They extended their area of effect by making inroads into community work. In an absolutely different route, the 1870s feeling books of Mary BraedonRhoda Broughton, and Marryat, explored truly extreme female demonstration against wedding and women’s financial oppression, although still in the structure of feminine conferences that required the erring heroine’s devastation (Showalter 1977). Their golden-haired doll-like paradigms of womanhood concept contemporary goals of Angels in the House by switching out to be mad bigamist and would-be murderess.

Militant suffragists also had written prolifically during this demonstration level of literature. Females such as Sarah Grand, George Egerton, Mona Caird, Elizabeth Robins, and Olive Schreiner made “fiction the automobile for a dramatization of offended womanhood… demand[ing] changes in the community and governmental techniques that would allow women men privileges and need chastity and constancy from men” (Showalter, 1977). On the, Showalter discovers these women’s documents not illustrations of excellent literature. Their tasks worried themselves more with a concept than the making of art, though their denial of male-imposed descriptions and self-imposed oppression started out the gates for development of female identification, feminist concept, and the feminine visual.

The third interval, then, is acknowledged by a self-discovery and some independence “from some of reliance of opposition” (Showalter, 1977) as a method for self-definition. Some authors end up switching in during the following search for identification. In the beginning 50 percent of Females level of composing, it carried… the doubled history of feminine self-hatred and feminist drawback… [Turning] more and more toward a separatist literature of inner area (Showalter, 1977). Dorothy RichardsonKatherine Mansfield, and Virginia Woolf proved helpful towards a female visual, increasing libido to a world-polarizing perseverance. Moreover, the feminine experience and its innovative ways organized mystic significance — both transcendental and self-destructive weaknesses.

They applied the social research of the feminists [before them] to terms, phrases, and components of terminology in the story (Showalter, 1977).

 However, Showalter criticizes their performance for their and orgiastic natures. For all its issue with sex-related descriptions and libido, the composing prevents real get in touch with the body, disengaging from people into “A Room of One’s Own.

This modified when the feminine novel joined a new level in the 1960s. With 20th Century Freudian and Marxist research and two hundreds of years of female custom, authors such as Iris Murdoch, Muriel Spark, Doris Lessing, Margaret Drabble, A.S. Bayt, and Beryl Bainbridge accessibility women’s encounter-rs. Using formerly taboo terminology and circumstances, “anger and libido are approved… as resources of female innovative power” (Showalter, 1977).

Showalter’s research reveals how development of women’s composing achieved this level and conveys all the disputes and battles still impacting the existing of women’s literature.

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  • Showalter, Elaine. A literature of their own: British women novelists from Brontë to Lessing. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1977.

Gender and Language Theory

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GENDER AND LANGUAGE THEORY

Gender is a social construct and cultural construct while sex is sex is biological distinction. On the other hand gender is quite different from sex. It is the quality referred to a sex. Since last two decades we that the term gender has got popular by the post structuralist feminists. It is complex in origin and nature.

Swann, 1998 views that biological distinction is not enough to explore the differences in sex. The variation of Masculinity and femininity develops from generations and cultures these are not fixed and reversible (Wodak 1997, Tulbot 1998).

Language in itself is cultural and social reality. It is perception of oneself and others. Speaker and listener are key agents that understand not only linguistically but also lexical constructed upon ideological grounds. Language creates the gender identities. Social status, power, authorities, identities within a particular society are constructed through language. Language is the road map for understanding the feminist discourses and texts.

 Antik views that language is not even but it is variable and complex. Linguistics resources provide us choice to construct meaningful communication (Antik, 1994). Suppose if there is atopic of “abortion” different classes of society like doctors, media, legislators will use different linguistic choices to construct language on the gender ideologies base in a society.

As regard to femininity (ies) in a society gender and language plays pivotal role in establishing and constructing these ideologies and identities (Graddol & Swan, 1989). The same reflection is found in works of western writers, colonial literature and feminist writers views all identities and femininity (ies) in their literacy works. There are two different approaches feminist and non feminists regarding gender construction. Lexical approach and generic discourse vocabulary usage is also socially construction (Lia Litosselitti, Gendrer and Language Theory and Practice, 2006).

Gender "femininity" day 124/365 365 days of me
“femininity” day 124/365 365 days of me (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Patriarchy and its Discourse

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Patriarchy and its Discourse

Early feminists of Victorian age revolted against patriarchal language but post structuralist feminists did not just focused upon suffrage movement but the developed the issue and rebel against the male dominance. Iragery (1998) views that patriarchal discourses are based upon power and political determinism. The same politics and power developing discursive femininities through language is differently cited and viewed by Julia Kristina, (Strangers to ourselves, 1989), Gayatri Spivak (On other worlds, 1995), Catharine Clemet’s (Opera,1998 undoing of women).

SUBJECTIVITY AND BEASLEY’S VIEW

Beasely also views that women are considered as pet creature to men. They have to work the household and to develop the children instead of the professionals like doctor and architecture. The fiction must play role to construct subjectivity about women. The term subject and subjectivity refers that meaning in text are never fixed. It is the reader that construct it .the research aims to investigate the patriarchal effects created in the text developed by Ibsen in “A Doll’s House”.

MILLS DISCOURSE

Sara Mills views that the women. about its importance  feminism over the writings of founded through travel writings that was not earlier developed femininities within society. Female writers of Victorian age and post modern age have visible subject matter differences in literary works (Morris, 1979: 23). She analyses the women travel writers theme of discourses. Though all their works are Hetrogenitic and complex phenomenon. Constraints in writings have been used by female writers (Hulme 1986, O Porter 1982).

Victorian age is considered that few feminist writers emerged at the surface due to the patriarchal oppression. Colonial discourses and Victorian literature finds less similarities due to cross cultural impact and text (Worley, 1986: 40). Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, Hulman and Mary Louise used objectivity, escapism and  especially individuality is key subject that is contradictory to literature of female writers of 19th century. Imperialism represented the real picture of the British women.

Foucault’s work on power and language ‘he believes that power is economy (Focault, 1992a: 109). He further says that speech acts of text and discourses represent reality by organizing them and finding the fluidity and unspoken elements of discourses. He concludes the ambiguity in women writings using the language as authority and power.

 The surface and deeper level analysis predicts the facts as “Hermeneutic” analysis says that there is no text, the thing is interpretation.

“Power is convinced as sort of grand,absolute subject… who attributes what is forbidden on the side on which power is suffered. There is an equal tendency to ‘subjective’ it, by determining the point at which the acceptance of the indirect occurs, the point at which one says ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to power” (Foucault in Morris and Patton, 1979: 54).

Mills finds out the failure of critics in finding out the Gender identity and lack of perceptions. She concentrate on short texts and represent the discourse analysis of feminist perspective. She argues that women writers should frame different types of discourses. The key types are Confessional discourse and Feminine discourse. Confess is there to adhere the reality and admit the daily facts that are not confessed by writers. The second one she stats that represents the femininity and heterosexuality. She pictures the representation in famous book “Feminist Stylistics”1995. She clearly concludes that writing style of women is different than male writer. She believes that foregrounding in texts makes it different. In representation of text gender is necessary element .the speech acts; language of discourse is actually reflection of the writer’s gender identity.

CLASSICAL VS MODERN PATRIARCHY  

It is an agreed fact by research and scholars that women is always taken as the subordinate and inhabitant creature. Women has been represented by weak and negative characters since the origin of the English literature.

“BEOWOLF”  and other ancient vernaculars shows the dominance and authoritative value of male being the patriarchal society. On the other hand the famous writers like Shakespeare represents female in comedies and tragedies “King Lear, Twelfth Night” in same boat, G.B Shaw in Major Barbra and ‘The Arms and the Men’, Ibsen in ‘A Doll’s House while in poetry John Donne in “A Faerie Queen” and Chaucer’s character “A Wife of Bath” represented the women in their patriarchal ideological sense. As far the modern dramatists concern we see after the third wave of feminism women is quite different in gender role. O Neil’s drama “Juno & Paycock” is one of the senile representation of women as domesticated animal in male dominated society.

The stereotypical role of men and women is beautifully depicted by Virginia Woolf in (Women and fiction, 1998). She argues that our fathers are distinctive that made law but what about our mothers that just a tradition.

             “One was beautiful, one was red haired, one was kissed by a queen, we know nothing of them except  their names and dates of their marriages and number of children they bore” (Woolf in Women and Fiction, 1998).

 It is described by different feminists that sex is biological category while gender is social construct (Weedon 1987 & Millet 1997). Modern male writers presents the role of the female in society in real sense as Henrik Ibsen points out the gender role of ‘NORA’ in ‘A Doll’s House’. The terms got popular in 1960 by Lakoff’s article “Language and Women place”, he argues that both sex are different in talk and all is result of male supremacy. Judith believes that modern feminists committed a mistake by talking female common in character and objectives (Gender Trouble 1990).

Patriarchy & Discourse